Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurial Nuggets | Adirondack Jack | Wave Extinguisher at Ripley’s | Cheap Lego Drones | Warby Parker Makes Public School Hip

Alibaba founder Jack Ma bought 28,000 acres of forestland in the Adirondacks for conservation purposes… While billionaire founders and CEOs conserving land in NY is not new, the fact that a Chinese innovators is there too is interesting. Read the story about Jack and his $23 million dollar buy.

Warby Parker, the hip, social impact oriented eye glass firm founded by Wharton

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Cartoon of the day 6/26/15.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Cartoon of the day 6/26/15.

students has partnered with New York City Public Schools and will provide up to 20,000 pairs of glasses to kids in need.

GMU’s Seth Robertson and Viet Tran were feature in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Cartoon of the Day for their Wave Extinguisher — it puts out fire with sound waves!

We love Parrot drones at Mason — they are fun for students to learn on. The company announced 13 new drones this week for less than $189! One with a Lego attachment!

Commonbond, an innovative student loan company started at Wharton in 2012, sold its first bonds to Wall Street investors. By targeting specific students and graduates (originally Wharton grads), the firm offers lower rates to lender and loan products with specific attributes to investors.

Do College Drop Outs Thrive?

The WSJ ran the headline, College Dropouts Thrive in Tech, a couple of weeks ago (sub required). The article highlights well known dropouts (Jobs, Zuckerberg) and Thiel Fellowship winners, even referring to one as a wunderkind (a concept I reference in my forthcoming research on student entrepreneurs at US colleges and universities).

From the piece ,

Messrs. Weinstein and Kramer live at Mission Control with 10 others, including two women; half are under 21 years old. Three, including Messrs. Weinstein and Kramer, are Thiel Fellows. The house was originally leased by fellowship organizers for grant winners; other young entrepreneurs moved in as some initial residents left.

More dormitory than frat house, there is more working than partying at Mission Control. Residents come from varied backgrounds with diverse interests, but share some common traits: a brush with early success, disillusionment with the education system, an irreverent world view and healthy self-confidence.

The housemates share their schedules through a Google calendar and conduct group chats on Facebook Messenger, alerting each other to events like Wine-and-Cheese Wednesdays, Freestyle Fridays, and house dinners. There are impromptu all-night sessions of role-playing games such as Werewolf, but the most popular activity is tinkering with technology

I pulled the above quote because my research investigates whether the campus offers frontier like attributes that support innovation and entrepreneurship. The picture painted above provides some insight, but the data set — 2 Thiel fellows — is too small and not sure how representative these folks are of ‘dropouts.’

My data, which includes many students in the information industries — ranging from software and saas to e-commerce and search engines, includes notable dropouts, but most of the students that created high growth ventures while in school do in fact graduate.

Interesting commentary on the article over at Y Combinator Hacker News.

More to come. I will be defending my PhD in mid-July.

PhD Update: Entrepreneurship, Students, and Universities

I am in the final month of my dissertation at George Mason University. This blog grew out of my early research, as did the twitter handle Campus_Entre. I’ve learned a great deal and am happy with the database of high growth student entrepreneurs, their firms, and schools, as well as the case study of the University of Chicago. cover_frontier_quote

I also developed basic campus ‘pathways’ based on themes that emerged from the qualitative and quantitative data collected.

The question of whether the campus offers frontier attributes (liberty, diversity, and assets) is the center of this research. This portion of the paper uses the ideas of Frederick Jackson Turner’s Frontier Thesis.

Moreover, if the campus does in fact offer frontier attributes and supports ‘frontier outcomes (new norms, innovative products, new organizations, and socio-economic change), how can we replicate these attributes in other organizations, institutions and sectors?

News from the World of High Growth Student Startups | GrubHub | Packback Books | #Entrepreneurship #Dissertation

Been awhile lots of research and busy with new opportunities at George Mason Universities. The Campus is indeed the frontier. Three items from the frontier…

University of Chicago Booth School high growth startup GrubHub has filed for an IPO. From winning the Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge to raising millions in venture capital, Matt Maloney‘s startup has been on the move.

Big celebrations in Chicago and at 1871 as a student startup from Illinois State, Packback Books, appeared on Shark Tank last week. They closed a deal with Mark Cuban. The company, founded Kasey Gandham, Mike Shannon and Nick Currier offers short term, pay per use digital textbook rentals. Kind of like renting a movie from itunes etc. Big changes in #highered #textbook market!

My dissertation, The Campus as Frontier for Entrepreneurship: High Growth Student Startups at U.S. Universities, will be completed in April 2014. The dissertation will include a case study, a database of high growth student entrepreneurs, their firms, and universities. Additionally, the work will propose 5 archetypes of high growth student entrepreneurs and will suggest a frontier framework for evaluating U.S. higher education and its value. I look forward to sharing this work as I complete by PhD from GMU’s SPP.

 

 

 

 

Effectuation | Saras Sarasvathy

Am I late to the party on Effectuation and Saras Sarasvathy at the University of Virginia (found it through some of the Babson folks and their new book, Action Trumps Everything)? From the Effectuation video:

Effectuation is an idea with a sense of purpose – a desire to improve the state of the world and the lives of individuals by enabling the creation of firms, products, markets, services, and ideas.

Effectuation is a logic of entrepreneurial expertise, developed from a cognitive science based study of 27 founders of companies ranging in size from $200M to $6.5B. Effectuation articulates a dynamic and iterative process of creating new artifacts in the world. Effectual reasoning is a type of human problem solving that takes the future as fundamentally unpredictable, yet controllable through human action; the environment as constructible through choice; and goal as negotiated residuals of stakeholder commitments rather than as pre-existent preference orderings.

via About Effectuation | SEA – Society for Effectual Action.

Rise of the ‘Edupunk’ Spells Opportunity For Entrepreneurs

Jack Stripling has an interesting piece in the wake of the recent TIAA-CREF Institute’s 2010 Higher Education Leadership Conference.

In a notable acknowledgment of the tail wagging the dog, several panelists alluded here to the possibility that if colleges don’t change the way they do business, then students will change the way colleges do business.

College leaders don’t yet know how to credential the knowledge students are gaining on their own, but they may soon have to, said Mark David Milliron, deputy director for postsecondary improvement at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We are not far from the day when a student, finding unsatisfactory reviews of a faculty member on ratemyprofessors.com, will choose to take a class through open courseware online and then ask his home institution to assess him, Milliron said. Colleges need to prepare for that reality, he said.

While the concept of a self-educated citizenry circumventing the traditional system of higher education may have sounded far-fetched a decade ago, the fact that the likes of Spilde gave it more than lip service marks something of a shift. Indeed, there was more than a subtle suggestion across hours of sessions Monday that colleges are in for a new world, like it or not, where they may not be the winners.

The piece highlights the work of various leaders in higher education, but makes clear that budgetary challenges are looming and change will come, even if it is not openly discussed in policy circles. From the piece:

Among those lamenting the lack of real action was William E. (Brit) Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland and a national advocate for improving efficiencies in higher education. During a session covering the college completion goals set out by President Obama and others, Kirwan passionately questioned the “enormous disconnect” between the rhetoric coming from policy makers and the reality in states that are slashing budgets. Moreover, he asserted that concrete benchmarks have not been set for how the United States will achieve Obama’s stated goal of returning to its historic summit as the nation with the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

“If we were serious about this, we would have it mapped out,” he said. There are indeed maps, but Kirwan’s point suggests even policy wonks don’t see clear benchmarks.

The seriousness of the budget realities, however, did not go unnoticed by Matthew Goldstein, chancellor of the City University of New York. Speaking like a man under the Sword of Damocles, Goldstein suggested state deficits in New York and elsewhere were the “next bubble.”

“Here’s where the problem is really going to come and smack us right in the face,” Goldstein said.

“You don’t hear the talking heads and you don’t hear the politicians who are running for office saying how real this problem is,” he added.

Goldstein went further, asserting that the inability of states to meet obligations in higher education was a true “national security problem.”

There is far more to read in this piece if you are interested in the state of higher education in America — including positive actions such as UVA’s twitter based ‘flash seminar’ experiment.  (sounds cool, wonder what students think)

With knowledge at the center of our economy and society, and our knowledge makers and distributors undergoing radical change — from increasing demand and decreasing budgets to disruptive technology and global competition — the importance of entrepreneurship is clear.

Smart institutions will welcome them at all levels, from on and off of campus, many institutions and leaders will continue to fend them off, dreaming of security, not opportunity.

via News: The Rise of the ‘Edupunk’ – Inside Higher Ed.

Entrepreneurs Must Dream for Themselves and for Society

I am in the process of reading the book It’s A Jungle in There by Steven Schussler, the entrepreneur behind Rainforest Cafe and other customer-centric businesses.

Schussler has a great section on the importance of dreams to achieving success as an entrepreneur. He concludes his chapter on dreams with a piece of a poem by Langston Hughes:

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

There is no doubt that entrepreneurs are the dreamers of modern society and without them, society and economy do in fact become a barren field.